Hertfordshire '17

Young People of the Year

Revealing, Recognising and Rewarding Positive Role Models

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Local dignitaries, sponsors and young people are YOPEY's judges

Below you can read about the sponsors of this YOPEY and some of our dignitary judges.

However these are not all the judges. Every YOPEY since 2006 has been judged by young people as well as 'great and good'. These Youth Judges' opinions and votes are as valid as the adults. The youngest judge's vote is worth the same as the vote of a representative of the Queen!

YOPEY's aim is to have as many Youth Judges on every YOPEY as dignitaries and sponsors. If you are aged from 10-25 and would like to be a Youth Judge, please contact us via our Contact Us form, telling us a little bit about yourself and why you would make a good Youth Judge.

The dignitary judges tend to include a representative of the Queen*, a senior clergy from any religion, a top police officer, the local MP and councillors as well as representatives of the businesses and other organisations sponsoring this YOPEY. We are very grateful for their support.

We ask the dignitaries and sponsors to provide photographs of themselves as young people – as well as today – to show they were young once!

* The Queen is represented by the Lord Lieutenant of the county in which the YOPEY is held or the Vice Lieutenant or a Deputy Lieutenant. The High Sheriff, who also represents the Queen in legal matters, can also judge.


The Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP

Mike was born in North London in 1957 and educated in Essex at Appleton and King Edmund Comprehensive Schools. He is married to Angela and they have two daughters.

Mike joined the Army as a boy soldier and served with the Grenadier Guards in Northern Ireland, Kenya and Germany; he also undertook ceremonial duties in London including Trooping the Colour. On leaving the Army Mike served as a full time fireman in Essex for many years before going into the family business and later, after several career changes, into political journalism.

Mike first

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New Lord-Lieutenant was a YOPEY trustee

Robert Voss graduated in International Management from Manchester University and the Business School and spent 40 years in the International Metal Industry and was President of The European Metal Federation in Brussels for over 16 years.

He has a special interest in young people and young entrepreneurs through his involvement with Hertfordshire Young Enterprise Programme, as a venture capitalist investing in a number of young companies and as a trustee of YOPEY, the Young People of the Year charity. He also established a Young Entrepreneurs Challenge.

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High Sheriff invests in young companies

Will Hobhouse is the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire for 2017/18. Will is a retailer by profession having been CEO at Tie Rack and Whittard of Chelsea. Since 2002 he has invested in growing businesses and Chaired companies such as Jack Wills, Explore Learning, Sunspel, Rapanui and Le Pain Quotidien amongst others.

Additionally he has been very active on Boards in the charity sector such as The British Museum Company, Cancer Research UK, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, The Woodland Trust and Greenhouse Sports.

Will assumed the role of High Sheriff

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Chief Fire Office says YOPEY does a great job

Darryl Keen is the Director of Community Protection and Chief Fire Officer for Hertfordshire County Council. Darryl is responsible for a number of key services including Trading Standards, Emergency Planning and Fire & Rescue within Hertfordshire.

Originally from Buckinghamshire, Darryl moved to Hertfordshire around 25 years ago. He has been a firefighter for 26 years and has worked in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and now as the most senior fire officer in Hertfordshire. Since joining the fire and rescue service he has attended a number of

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Mayor of Welwyn Hatfield Council, Cllr Lynne Sparks

Councillor Lynne Sparks became a ward Councillor for Hatfield Villages in 2010, was Mayor from May 2015 to May 2016 and is hugely honoured to have become Mayor for a second term.

Lynne has lived in Hatfield since 1997 with her husband, Ian. They have three children in their twenties. Lynne gave up full-time work last year to care for their disabled daughter, having previously worked at the Environment Agency in Hatfield for 18 years in the Flood Risk Management division.  

Lynne enjoys supporting a number of local charities,

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Hertsmere MP is a 'local boy' working to improve area

Oliver Dowden CBE MP writes: “Hertsmere is my home patch. I was born and grew up here and still live in the area with my wife and two young children. I went to Parmiter’s School near Watford and then went on to study law at Cambridge University.

From 2010 until 2015 I served in Downing Street, advising the then Prime Minister on how to tackle the wide variety of challenges confronting him. I was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of this service.

I was honoured to be elected

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Mayor of Hertsmere is a businessman

Cllr Charles Goldstein grew up in Finchley and moved to Hertsmere shortly after marrying his wife Gail over 30 years ago. He lived first in Elstree and then moved to Radlett in 2002.

He is a chartered accountant and operates his own company in Waltham Cross.He also works with his son operating a progressive tax return and accounting services company concentrating on an internet and website-based approach.

He is also a director of Elstree Studios and has been on their board since 2007.

Charles was first elected in 2006 for the Aldenham

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Watford MP has been responsible for apprenticeships

Richard Harrington MP is the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy since June this year. His responsibilities include industrial strategy, energy, nuclear, oil and gas, low carbon generation and security of supply. His portfolio also covers electricity and gas wholesale markets and networks, smart meters and smart systems, international energy, energy security and aerospace. Before that, Richard Harrington was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

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Mayor of Stevenage, Cllr Pam Stuart was a single mum

Pam Stuart is a familiar face in the Chells area of Steveange where she first became a Councillor in 1990.  She also taught at Round Diamond Primary School for over 25 years.  

She currently serves on the Overview Scrutiny and Licensing Committees as well as the Environment and Economy Select Committee.

She represents Stevenage Borough Council on the Kadoma Link which develops relationships between Stevenage and its twin town in Zimbabwe.  

She is a Governor at Camps Hill Community Primary School

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Former captain of Moor Park Golf Club

Joe Sandecock had a successful 32 year career with BP, 15 years of which were posted in Europe and Africa. 

Joe went on to be a consultant to various oil companies whilst increasing his volunteering at his local Michael Sobell Hospice. He has since been Chairman of the Hospice for 5 years.

He was Captain of Moor Park Golf club for the 2014/15 season. Joe is married to Jenny and has a daughter, son and two grandchildren.

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